Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Fox in the Library

The Fox in the Library

Lorenz Pauli
Illustrator:  Kathrin Scharer 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
NorthSouth, 2013   ISBN: 978-0735841505

One day Mouse is having a delightful quiet moment when she smells a fox and she hears a noise. Being quick on her feet Mouse is able to dive through a cellar window before Fox is able to snap her up. Fox pursues his quarry into a cellar, over a box, around a corner, and into a pipe. When he emerges he finds himself in a place that smells of paper and humans.

For a short while Mouse runs with Fox close on her heels, but then she stops running, turns, and tells Fox that they are in a place where Fox is not allowed to be annoying. Fox insists that Mouse is “mine!” which is when she informs him that she cannot be his. They are in a library and you can only borrow things that are in libraries. She explains that a library is a place full of books and that books make is possible for you to “have adventures,” “learn new things,” and “have new ideas. Then Mouse gives Fox a picture book to look at, hoping that the story will distract Fox long enough that he will stop thinking about eating a mouse.

The book does indeed give Fox ideas. It makes him think of chickens, and he runs out of the library taking the book with him, but he is back the next night. Fox wants Mouse to read him the story in the book he borrowed, but Mouse is far too busy. She suggests that Fox borrow the audio version of the book he likes. This Fox does. Three nights later he is back, and he has a very distressed chicken in his mouth. The chicken has told the fox that chicken bones are bad for foxes. Now Fox needs to find out the chicken is telling the truth, and he knows that he can find this out in the library.

Young readers will be greatly amused when they see how Fox's problem, and the chicken's problem as well, is solved in this cleverly written picture book. It turns out that libraries, and the books that live in them, can provide solutions to all kinds of difficulties, and they also provide the kind of environment where alliances (even unusual ones) can be made.